As I said in my prior post, from now on I'm writing my posts in English, to embrace my arrival at my new country. So I'm telling you the story of my first week here day by day :-), not only as an anecdote, but also as a guide of the first errand you have to do as soon as you get to Oz.
Last Sunday 12.2.12 at 10:40am Ellu and I arrived from a 40 hours trip to the Sydney airport. Tired, smelling like crap, but most of all: REALLY EXCITED... our new life was just beginning.
We stepped of the plane and headed off to immigration where our passports where stamped (and our yellow fever international card was checked). As I declared I carried wood (I had a jewellery box made out of wood, a belt and a scent burner) they made me go through the AQUIS stage, where all my luggage went through a scanner and where they made me open the suitcase with the wood in it. After checking it they let me go with a smile and good wishes regarding my migration.
At the airport Ellu met with his brother and sister in law (which I knew from school 'cause I studied with her sister since the 4th grade until high school graduation); well, and I met with Juanpa, the guy who rented me his unit for 8 weeks. At home, Caro and Lucas (his wife and gorgeous baby) were waiting for us :). Juanpa and Caro are these Venezuelans I got to know through Aussie Neighbour, because of a post they wrote renting their unit. We spoke using Skype and we liked each other right away. They are an awesome couple I'm really happy to have met.
Well, continuing with my arrival story... that day after arriving, I took a really needed shower, we had some lunch and then we departed on the mission: KEEPING-GABY-AWAKE-TO-AVOID-JETLAG jajaja.
We went to the supermarket and I did my first on-arrival shopping. The good thing is that I only needed to buy food and cleaning things, because their unit is fully equipped.
We got back home at 7 pm more or less. I turned the computer on to write an email to my mom and dad and to apply for the Tax File Number.
The process is really simple... you enter their website and just follow instructions. The only 2 things you need for that are your current address where they can send you the TFN and your passport (because you need to fill in our passport number and some data about your visa). When you're done, make sure to write down the confirmation number and wait for it to arrive by post mail.
Finally, at 9pm I went to bed :-)
Day 2- Monday 13rd:
I woke up quite early, at 7am... turned the computer on, talked a bit with my mom (she met the guys) and had a nice breakfast with them.
Juanpa and I left the house around 9:30am, went to the post office to pick up a package they were waiting for and I "aproveché" to send to the Venezuelan Embassy in Canberra the papers they ask for in order to get the Consular Registration my mom to "tramitar" "Cadivi Remesa Familiar" [in another post I'll write about this].
After that we took the bus to the Parramatta Westfield, which is quite close (even walking distance depending on how much of a hurry you are). There I enrolled into Medicare. You have to fill up a form, then they (the person who is with you) put your data in the computer and give you a. receipt and you have to wait about a week for the card to arrive also by post mail.
Well, then we went to the city to the main branch of the Commonwealth Bank where I opened my account. Why? Well, because if you open an account being abroad, you have to activate it as soon as you arrive in the country so you can use your money. But that can be done at any bank branch, however my debit card was there, so I did both things in one trip: activate the account and pick up the card. I also updated my home address and asked for statements because you may need them for some transactions and errands.
Then, after staying a bit in the city, we went back home to have lunch with Caro and Lucas. After that the 3 of us went again to the Westfield in Parramatta in order for me to get my so desired iPhone. This first time I couldn't get it because I didn't reach the 100 points I needed (the phone story is going to be written in another post). The recommendation of the clerk was for me to get a Photo ID issued by the RTA... with that I could reach the needed points. Then we went home and it was time to go to bed.
Day 3- Tuesday 14th:
Juanpa, Caro and Lucas left at 7am to go to the airport to catch a plane to Venezuela. It was my first day by myself.
I had a great breakfast (English muffins with cheese cream and scrambled eggs) and headed off to the RTA.
I got there, took 2 numbers (I didn't know at first which was the one I needed to take), filled a form and waited. When they called my number I went to the booth and gave my passport, the filled form and the bank statement where I had my full name with my current address. Everything so far was perfect until the attendant said: "It's 46$"... when I heard that the phrase that popped in my head was: "WTF!!!!!!!"... and well, with a smile I handed my credit card. Then he took my picture. and in about 10 minutes I left the building with my Photo ID... ready to get my so desired iPhone.
Got to the Westfield, which is only 2 blocks away from the RTA, went directly to Telstra, and after a second attempt I left the store with NO iPhone (again, this deserves its own post). Anyway, after that I was supposed to meet Ellu at Town Hall station, but for that I had to call her from the new phone I didn't have, so I ask for the Telstra girl for a phone where I could call and she allowed me I use the one from the store... after 6 times trying to connect with Ellu I left her a voice message in her sister-in-law's mobile and got even more frustrated jajaja. Then I called Liber, one of my best friends here, who had a pin I bought last year, so she could give it to me to have a phone... guess what?!?! I also reached her voice mail!!! So, no comments.
I left frustrated as hell and went to Town Hall and when Ellu didn't arrive I went to Bondi Junction to get my originals and translations (of the documents I used for the visa application ) from the SCA people.
I got there at 1 pm, expecting the worse, taking under consideration the morning I had. But everything worked out perfectly after that.
Yenny (in behalf of Penny jejeje) took all my documents, gave them to me and the receptionist let me use the phone to call Liber again... this time she DID pick up the phone (in the morning she was vacuuming so she didn't hear it ring). We talked and agreed to meet in Hornsby 'cause she had a doctor's appointment there at 2:30pm.
I went as quickly as I could (Hornsby is far from Bondi Junction) and got to her GP at 2:15... we talked a few minutes and when she was called in, I took Sophia, her gorgeous daughter, and went for a walk :-) (I bought myself a new pillow... really nice, soft and Eco-friendly made by recycled plastic bottles)...
At 3 we returned and met with Liber. We were together until 4:20 aprox 'cause at 6 I was going to meet Arturo (another close friend) at Green Square 'cause I was going to borrow from him a phone (a perfect “potecito”) which is the one I used until Sunday. We met, talked for 15 min, he gave me the phone and walked me back to the station. I got home that day at 8 pm.
I didn't stay longer with him because although I know, rationally, that here walking at night on the streets is safe, there is still some Venezuelan paranoia in me that makes me feel a bit scared of walking alone in the dark.
After arriving home, I made the application to enrol myself in the Skillmax course, which is meant for migrants to help you write resumes and cover letters in the Aussie way, so it becomes easier to apply and get a job.
The process to enrol depends on where you want t study. If it's in the city Ames you can do it online... you need to fill up the application and then upload some docs: your visa (has to be a 175 or 176), your IELTS results (minimum overall score of 6,5), and your qualifications (which I uploaded both in Spanish and the translation I picked up in SCA earlier that day).
Day 4- Wednesday 15th:
This day I was supposed to straighten my things and put my place in order... all my clothes were still in the suitcases. But instead I spent all morning talking through Skype with my mom and dad in a group call... it was hilarious!!!
I also spent my morning applying for a job in the City of Sydney (let's see if something comes out of it - fingers crossed)... it was quite an application, because besides having to modify my CV and cover letter to be suitable for that specific job, I had to write 3 paragraphs about how I met the selection criteria and I had to upload my qualifications, which I did both in Spanish and its translations.
That morning I also received an email from the Skillmax saying I was accepted in the course starting Monday 5th of March, and if I wanted to study there I had to accept some conditions in order to verify my enrolment.
I didn't do that at that time 'cause I wanted to see if I could enrol for the one beginning the prior week which was going to take place in Chastwood. So Ellu and I decided to go there ad fond out if we could do that.
Around 2 pm we met in the Chatswood station, after I went to the Westfield there to buy some credit for my prepaid phone. We walked to the Macquarie Community College where the course was supposed to take place, and guess what?!!! It didn't exist anymore!!! All the neighbours guess they moved (all in shock).
Well, after that we decided to go to the city to enjoy the rest of the day.
That night I confirmed my enrolment in the city's Skillmax course: I begin classes the 5 of March; Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 1 to 5 pm
Day 5 - Thursday 16th:
That was the day!!! I was going to straighten my things out!!! But noooooooooo
I went to the bank to make a deposit, and walking to Parramatta I saw a bus that went straight to Ellu's place... so I texted her and took the bus there and we spent the day together.
While being together I had lunch... my first Laksa here :-)
Day 6 - Friday 17th:
Well... on Friday morning I stayed home... FINALLY storing my clothes in the closet... didn't finish but was a very good start.
Friday afternoon I went to Waitara to meet Coralia and Leo. Cora is an architect I met in our Aussie Neighbour. She is quite a special person, really nice and easy going, and very willing to help and give a hand in whatever she can.
Leo and Cora gave me some advise regarding my resume and cover letter, being one of the most important ones that in the cover letter we must write the same exact words that appear on the job add. For example if the add says:"we need an experienced architect with strong skills in Autocad" well, you MUST write exactly that. Why? Because both the cover letter and resume are scanned by a software that looks for the key words; if you don't have them, you won't be even considered.
Day 7 - Saturday 18:
That day I finished with my clothes in the morning and in the afternoon our group met in Arturo and Carila's place to celebrate we all were finally in Sydney, the first of us to be working (Arturo) and our first Aussie to be born this week: Anabella :-) We had a GREAT time.
To end my first seven days in Sydney that night I had my first fire test... I ripped my insecurity-feeling-band aid off: for the first time I was walking home by myself in the dark at night. It was a mix of emotions among frightened to death, happy, excited, nervous, etc. I got home almost bursting into tears because of something that should be natural, something that here is natural... it was my first time and I had a mix of emotions.
After that I'm not afraid anymore to walk home at night.